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Austin College

Austin College
Austin College's New Modern Logo
Motto Nil nisi per aspera
Established 1849
Type Private liberal arts college
Affiliation Presbyterian
Endowment $133 million[1]
President Marjorie Hass
Administrative staff
Undergraduates 1,208[2]
Postgraduates 16[2]
Location Sherman, Texas, U.S.
Campus Suburban, 70 acres (28 ha)
Colors Crimson, Gold & Black[3]
Athletics NCAA Division IIISCAC
Nickname Kangaroos, The Fighting Roos'
Mascot Kangaroo[4]
Affiliations Oberlin Group
Annapolis Group
Website .edu.austincollegewww
Administrative building.

Austin College is a private liberal arts college affiliated by covenant relationship with the Presbyterian Church and located in Sherman, in the U.S. state of Texas, about 60 miles (about 100 km) north of Dallas.[5]

Austin College was profiled in all three editions of renowned education writer and editor Loren Pope's book Colleges That Change Lives, which distinguishes schools having two essential elements: "A familial sense of communal enterprise that gets students heavily involved in cooperative rather than competitive learning, and a faculty of scholars devoted to helping young people develop their powers, mentors who often become their valued friends."

The undergraduate student body of Austin College is about 1,300.[6] Students are required to live on campus for the first three years of their education in order to foster a close-knit and community oriented campus lifestyle. Austin College actively promotes study abroad programs; 70% of graduates have at least one international study experience during college, and about 82% of students are involved in research.[7] The college cultivates close interaction between students and professors via a 12:1 student to faculty ratio and an average class size of fewer than 25 students.[8] The college has no teaching assistants, so regular faculty teach all levels of coursework.

Chartered in November 1849, Austin College remains the oldest institution of higher education in Texas to be operating under its original charter and name as recognized by the State Historical Survey Committee.[5] The sister school of Austin College is Rice University.


  • History 1
  • Administration 2
  • Rankings 3
  • Campus 4
    • Demographics 4.1
    • Housing 4.2
  • Academics 5
    • Majors and Minors 5.1
    • Communication/Inquiry 5.2
    • January Term 5.3
    • Study abroad 5.4
    • Jordan Family Language House 5.5
    • Model United Nations 5.6
    • Graduate Outcomes 5.7
  • Athletics 6
  • Notable alumni 7
  • Notable faculty 8
  • References 9
  • External links 10


The college was founded on October 13, 1849, in

  • Official website
  • Austin College Athletics website

External links

  1. ^ As of November, 2014. "Austin College: Adding Value to a Changing World Strategic Plan 2015-2020" (PDF). Austin College. Retrieved November 20, 2014. 
  2. ^ a b
  3. ^
  4. ^ "The Kangaroo Mascot". Austin College. 
  5. ^ a b c Austin College, Austin College History.
  6. ^ Austin College, Austin College Life.
  7. ^ a b
  8. ^ Austin College, Austin College Faculty.
  9. ^ "An Army of Good Men". The Record. Hampden-Sydney College. 
  10. ^ "History". Retrieved 2015-09-03. 
  11. ^ Williams, Amelia W. (June 15, 2010). "MCKINNEY, SAMUEL". Handbook of Texas Online.  
  12. ^ a b c "Past Presidents". Retrieved 2015-09-03. 
  13. ^ "Lost Buildings of Austin College 1". Retrieved 2015-09-03. 
  14. ^ "America's Top Colleges". Forbes. Retrieved August 15, 2015. 
  15. ^ "Liberal Arts Colleges Rankings". America's Best Colleges 2012. U.S. News & World Report. September 13, 2011. Retrieved September 25, 2011. 
  16. ^ "The Washington Monthly Liberal Arts Rankings". The Washington Monthly. 2011. Retrieved October 6, 2011. 
  17. ^ "Austin College". U.S. News. 
  18. ^ "Residence Life". 
  19. ^ "music program". 
  20. ^ "". 
  21. ^ "Pre-Professional Programs". 
  22. ^ Fitzgerald, Wade (2010-01-15). "Library Exhibit Traces 20 Years of "Telling Our Stories" | Austin College". Retrieved 2013-07-10. 
  23. ^ "Study Abroad". Retrieved 27 September 2015. 
  24. ^ "Iienetwork.Org". Retrieved 2013-07-10. 
  25. ^
  26. ^ Steinberg, Jacques (1997-03-29). "From Religious Childhood To Reins of a U.F.O. Cult". New York Times. Retrieved 2008-05-08. 
  27. ^ Stowers, Carlton, and Carroll Pickett, Within These Walls: Memoirs of a Death House Chaplain, ISBN 978-0-312-28717-7, St. Martin's Press, 2002, Google Books


Notable faculty

Notable alumni

Austin College participates in Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference on July 1, 2006, replacing Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology. Austin College was previously a member of the American Southwest Conference, Texas Intercollegiate Athletic Association, and Texas Conference.

Athletics logo


Out of the Austin College first-year graduates, 40% have full-time employment, 38% attend graduate and professional schools, 12% are having post-graduate experiences, 5% are in prestigious fellowships and service, and 5% are seeking full-time employment.[25]

Graduate Outcomes

The purpose of the program is to gain skills in leadership, verbal and written communication, teamwork, decision-making and research. At the National Model U.N. Conference in New York City, the Austin College program has earned more than 20 top rankings for Outstanding Delegation. Austin College has also attended conferences in Chicago, Washington, DC, Hawaii, Russia and China.

Austin College has participated in Model United Nations around the USA since 1983. Model UN conferences simulate the workings of the United Nations, with delegates assuming the current positions of the countries they represent.

Model United Nations

Students who live in the house are enrolled in a half-credit course, in addition to another course in the language or literature. Course requirements include meeting several times a week for language table, weekly house meetings with skits, games, and other presentations in the target language, and a variety of other culturally appropriate activities.

A native speaker, always coming from abroad, resides in each section to assist students in their study of the language. The native speaker also holds intermediate and advanced conversation classes for the students. The Jordan House contains a multimedia language laboratory.

Completed in 1998, the Jordan Family Language House is both a residence hall and a place of study for German, Spanish, French, Chinese and Japanese language and culture. The hall is divided into four sections, one for each language. Each section functions independently, with the number of students varying from Spanish (the largest) to Japanese (the smallest, with a capacity for eight). Students are encouraged to speak in their language of study when in the house.

Jordan Family Language House

Austin College has a strong emphasis on international learning opportunity. Every year, many students choose to study abroad and travel to several different destinations including countries such as Italy, China, Japan, Switzerland, Argentina, and Mexico.[23] A 2009 report by Open Doors Online[24] showed that Austin College sent more than 80% of its students abroad at some point during their undergraduate education.

Study abroad

January Term is a three-week course taught every January. Students are required to take three Jan-terms during their time at Austin, and many use the semester to either take a class in an area different to their regular studies, intensify their study in their designated field, or travel abroad on one of the many travel Jan-terms. Off-campus Jan-terms are an opportunity for those who cannot study abroad during the normal school year to do so. International destinations rotate from year to year. There are also a number of domestic travel locations, such as Ghost Ranch in New Mexico, Washington D.C., Las Vegas and New York City. Courses are taught on-campus as well. A longstanding policy requires freshmen to spend their first Jan-term on-campus, although some instructors allow exceptions.

January Term

Communication/Inquiry (C/I) is a seminar course taken by freshmen during the fall of their entry year. The professor becomes a mentor for the students in the class over the next four years. C/I serves as the initial course in the undergraduate core curriculum, meant to emphasize the enhancement of core academic skills. Course topics are generally aligned with specialty of the instructors. C/I professors and topics rotate every year.[22]


There are multiple options made available to students at Austin College when deciding on a major and minor. Students are permitted to create a specialized major to match their academic interests. Austin College also offers pre-professional programs for law, medicine, dentistry, ministry, and engineering.[21]

Majors and Minors

Austin College offers about 35 majors and pre-professional programs for study, and students can also create a specialized major to match their academic interests. The college is known for its nationally recognized five-year Master of Arts in Teaching program, its pre-medical, international studies, and pre-law programs, which draw many students to the campus. The college has a music program,[19] and supports the Austin College A Cappella Choir and the Sherman Symphony Orchestra[20] made up of students and local musicians, and assorted smaller musical ensembles. It sponsors the Posey Center of Excellence in Leadership, the Center for Environmental Studies, and the Center for Southwestern and Mexican Studies, three specialized programs that give students numerous research and internship opportunities. The school also has active programs in over 40 academic disciplines. The school's student newspaper, the Austin College Observer, is a bi-weekly publication.


The Village on Grand provides neighborhood-style housing on Grand Avenue for seniors and some juniors. The Village includes 24 cottages—some single, some duplex, and three triplex “mansions,”—each housing four individuals. Each fully furnished cottage has a full-size kitchen, washer and dryer, four bedrooms with full-size beds, four bathrooms, and a living area. Each unit has front and rear covered porches. Reserved parking is available for each resident. Residents also pay their own electricity and water bills for a more independent lifestyle.

The Flats at Brockett Court provide 26 suite-style residences for juniors, extending living options beyond the traditional residence halls. Each includes four bedrooms with full sized beds, two bathrooms, full kitchen, washer and dryer, and a living area. Five of the units are two bedroom, one bath. All are fully furnished. A community room offers a social space for residents.

The Jordan Family Language House takes language learning to a whole new level for 48 men and women students of German, Spanish, French, and Japanese. Divided into four pods, one for each language, the House is staffed by four native speaking language residents. The Japanese pod is also shared with students in the Chinese program. Each pod features bedrooms, a kitchen, and a common living area. Residents are automatically enrolled in a quarter-credit language course each semester and must meet the requirements of the course to receive credit.

Johnson ‘Roo Suites are College-owned apartments, completed in the fall of 2003. Adjacent to Bryan Apartments, the suites house 152 students in four separate structures. Two of the buildings are three stories while the other two are only two stories. The residence is available to sophomores, juniors, and seniors, with priority given to sophomores and juniors. Four students, each with a separate bedroom, live in a 1,200-square-foot suite that includes two bathrooms, a common living area, and a kitchenette. The kitchenette includes a full size refrigerator, microwave, and a sink, but no stove or oven. Each resident receives a key to the main door and one for their individual bedroom. Laundry rooms are located in an outside room on each floor of each building. There is also a common room, shared with the Bryan Apartments, which includes a full kitchen, computer lab, study areas, and a living room area.

Bryan Apartments are College-owned apartments on campus. The 16 two-bedroom apartments are occupied by 2 people each. All apartments are furnished with two movable beds, dressers, desks and chairs per bedroom, movable sofa and a chair in the living room, and a movable dining room table with four chairs. All apartments contain a kitchen equipped with a full size refrigerator, garbage disposal, microwave, and electric oven and stove. There is also a common room, shared with the Johnson 'Roo Suites, which includes a full kitchen, computer lab, study areas, and a living room area.

Unless special accommodations are made, students are required to live on campus for three full years or six semesters.

There are four residence halls on the Austin College campus. Baker Hall houses only males, Caruth Hall houses only females, and Dean and Clyce Hall are co-ed. Freshmen are required to live in one of the residence halls if living on campus for their first year. All dorms have community bathrooms, laundry facilities, a computer lab, and community kitchen. The dorms also offer a limited number of single rooms. A meal plan is required for students living in the residence halls.[18]


  • Every student has a faculty mentor for their four years at Austin College.
  • Student to faculty ratio is 12:1.
  • 98 percent of faculty members hold a Ph.D. or equivalent terminal degree.
  • Austin College graduates experience an 80 percent acceptance rate into medical schools and other health science programs (two-year average).
  • 70 percent of graduates have at least one international study experience during college.
  • 80 percent of students complete an internship during their college experience.
  • Intercollegiate athletics programs involve 20 percent of the student body.
  • Each year, students contribute more than 16,000 community service hours locally and internationally.
  • More than 80 percent of students live on campus.
  • The Austin College community has approximately 42 percent of students who represent ethnic and racial minorities.
  • 63 percent of graduates enter graduate or professional school immediately or within five years of graduation.
  • 94 percent of faculty members recently have published or presented scholarly research.[7]



Listed in the U.S. News & World Report "Guide to the 331 Most Interesting Colleges", Austin College is also ninth on the U.S. News 2006 list of "most students studying abroad" and #82 on the 2013 list of National Liberal Arts Colleges.[17] It is a member of the International 50, a group of the top colleges in the USA for international focus. The school is named a Best Western College by The Princeton Review and is also included in The Princeton Review's Best 377 Colleges. Austin College is a member of the non-profit organization Colleges That Change Lives and one of the original 40 private colleges in the book, Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Feel About Colleges by Loren Pope.

University rankings
Forbes[14] 271
Liberal arts colleges
U.S. News & World Report[15] 89
Washington Monthly[16] 116


In 2009, Austin College welcomed its first female president, 15th in the history of the College, Dr. Marjorie Hass.[12] She was previously provost of Muhlenberg College. Hass succeeded Dr. Oscar Page.


In the latter part of Austin College's history, the school would see de-segregation, welcome its first full-time black faculty member, first female head of a department, and, employ its first female president. Dr. Marjorie Hass joined the campus in 2009 as both its first female and Jewish faith president.

In 1994, Dr. Oscar Page joined the community as its 14th president. Under his tenure, 1994-2009, Dr. Page increased the school's endowment by nearly 80%, due in large part to his dedicated fundraising efforts as evidenced by the success of the "Campaign for the New Era;" a total of $120 million dollars were raised and the campaign was heralded as the largest fundraiser in Austin College's history. Dr. Page orchestrated the construction of Jordan Family Language House, Jerry E. Apple Stadium, the Robert J. and Mary Wright Campus Center, the Robert M. and Joyce A. Johnson ’Roo Suites, and the Betsy Dennis Forster Art Studio Complex; as well as the renovation of the David E. and Cassie L. Temple Center for Teaching and Learning at Thompson House and of Wortham Center, and creation of the John A. and Katherine G. Jackson Technology Center, the Margaret Binkley Collins and William W. Collins, Jr., Alumni Center, and the College Green in Honor of John D. and Sara Bernice Moseley and Distinguished Faculty.[12]

On September 20, 1973, the musician Jim Croce died in a plane crash in Natchitoches, Louisiana, on his way to perform the next night at Austin College. Six people died in the crash.

The Great Depression severely limited campus growth and educational expansion, however the college quickly regained momentum in the mid-1930's with the introduction of many courses, ground breaking on new facilities, and growth of previously established programs. Throughout 1942, Austin College trained some 300 men and women in engineering, science and management courses as part of the United States Office of Education's war efforts. The following year, Austin College undertook a Cadet nurses training program and hosted Naval Reserves, Texas Home Guard, Army-air trainees and Air Corps Cadets.

Austin College became co-educational in 1918, merging in 1930 with the all-female Texas Presbyterian College.

Following the fire, the citizens of Sherman raised $50,000 to help the college rebuild. Now one of the oldest buildings on the Austin College campus, Sherman Hall housed administrative offices, an auditorium-chapel, and a library. Now the home of the George H.W. Bush.

"Austin College on fire and every particle of wood reduced to ashes--and walls rendered totally unfit for use. Oh, dies irae, dies irae! - The dear old building in which I have laboured for twenty-four years, gone! What traditions, memories, griefs, joys, were associated with it! The carpenters were approaching the completion of their work. The new English room was completed, the library room was soon to be ready. They literary societies lost everything. I lost all books, or, [those] in my class room. The laboratories were almost a total loss. Fortunately, the library, records, and office furniture were all in the new Y.M.C.A. building. Before the fire had begun to die out, the Senior class called the student body together and they pledged themselves by classes in writing to stand by the Faculty and the College, and that no one would leave. The Faculty also met shortly after and unanimously decided to continue college work the next day as usual, meeting their classes in places designated. Probably not another institution in the State could have done this. But the old College building is gone forever!!!"[13]

On January 21 of 1913, Old Main was set ablaze and burnt to the ground in a matter of hours. A professor of Austin College, Davis Foute Eagleton described the incident:

One of the school's most iconic presidents came in the form of Reverend Thomas Stone Clyce, who served as the Austin College president from 1900 to 1931; Reverend Clyce's presidency would become, and remains, the longest tenure in Austin College history.

Austin College's founding president was Irish-born Presbyterian minister Samuel McKinney, who served as the school's president a second time from 1862 to 1871.[11] Under the tenure of the fourth president of Austin College, Reverend Samuel Magoffin Luckett,[12] Austin College suffered several yellow fever epidemics and complications related to the Civil War. Texas Synod of the Presbyterian Church decided the college would be relocated to Sherman in 1876. Construction of the new campus in north Texas began in the form of "Old Main," a two-story, red brick structure, occurred between 1876 and 1878. Struggling with the Long Depression, Austin College saw little improvement to its building or grounds during the late 1870's; as such, Samuel Luckett resigned his position as president. From 1878 to 1885, the college continued to struggle from the aftershocks of economic depression; with an increasing debt and shrinking student body, the college turned to its 7th president, Reverend Donald MacGregor. A shrewd and well connected businessman, President MacGregor relieved a great deal of the college's debt and returned operations to normalcy. After MacGregor's death in 1887, the college welcomed President Luckett back to the campus. Throughout his second term as president, Samuel Luckett adopted a military program, grew the student body, introduced a YMCA chapter, established intercollegiate athletics and Greek fraternities, and added two wings to Old Main.

Baker named the school after the Texas historical figure Stephen F. Austin after the original land on which it was built was donated by the Austin family. Two other important figures in Texas history, Sam Houston and Anson Jones,[5] served on the original board of trustees for the college, and the former site in Huntsville later became today's Sam Houston State University.


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